National Feed a Rescue Pet Week

Patrick Stewart Is In Love With This Pit Bull But Can’t Take Her Home Due To BSL

ARS_Blog_DTOP_BelowTitle_300x250

Sir Patrick Stewart has boldly gone where no man has gone before. He’s honed the skills of the world’s most elite mutants into humanity’s greatest defense. He’s haunted Elsinore, hunted the white whale, heated the Cold War, and sparked up a giddy friendship with Gandalf that the world can’t get enough of.

At 76 years old, Stewart holds multiple Laurence Olivier awards, a Grammy, and even a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for a role in a Mel Gibson film most people have already forgotten about. He’s that good; even his bad days are applauded.

He’s advocated for and helped bring support to organizations like Amnesty International, BeatBullying, Dignity in Dying, and Precious Paws.

It seems there’s little the modern world wouldn’t want to let this in-between-jobs starship captain have full creative control of, so long as it’s captured on video. All except one thing. And perhaps the greatest of all.

Despite all his love and compassionate intention, Stewart is prohibited from adopting Ginger, the pit bull he’s been fostering in the United States, due to breed-specific legislation.

Proper ARS animalrescuesite_abovevideo

The Dangerous Dogs Act, introduced in 1991 in the UK, makes it illegal for Stewart to bring Ginger back to his home. Stewart had no problem caring for the dog, who was formerly a breeding dog for a pit bull fighting ring, in his stateside home while filming X-Men franchise features, but in England, dogs like Ginger can be seized and destroyed.

When Stewart first brought Ginger home, the actor could hardly contain his excitement, having waited 50 years to own a dog of his own.

“She only arrived a few hours ago at our house, and I’ve longed for this moment to come,” he told Conan O’Brien on March 9.

It was the intention of Stewart and his wife, Sunny Ozell, to foster Ginger in New York until they could find a permanent home for her, but it didn’t take long for Jean Luc Picard and his pup to become fast friends.


The actor’s connection to Ginger is one he admits did not come naturally at first. Stewart, like many others, was apprehensive about taking in a pit bull, due in part to the stigma connected to the breed.

“I had a reaction to that, which I am now significantly ashamed of, because pit bulls to me meant only one thing: aggression, hostility, violence,” he told People. “I was uncomfortable with the idea of meeting this dog,”

But comfort took little time in setting in. Stewart later attributed a great amount of personal development to his relationship with Ginger.

“I find that my relationship to the world and to the news every day in the papers and on the television has been changed by Ginger, because she has brought such a quality of patience and tolerance and fun into our lives, that it has, in a very short space of time, shifted my sense of where our world might be going,” Stewart told People. “I literally find myself more optimistic than I was, and there is only Ginger to account for this. It is the impact of sharing my life for only seven or eight days with Ginger.”

Sadly, Stewart and Ozell had to part ways with Ginger in late March, as they returned home to England.

“We had fallen madly in love, and had explored every possibility of getting her to the U.K. (where we’d be able to give her the kind of life she deserves), but alas the Breed Specific Legislation in place there really made it ultimately impossible,” Ozell wrote. “We could not bear to take a risk with her life, knowing that she has a bright future ahead of her even if she’s not ‘ours.’ She will forever be a light of my life, and we’ll be keeping in touch with her as much as possible. Fostering is a remarkable experience, and I would absolutely encourage anyone considering it to take the plunge.”

Stewart has never regretted a single moment of fostering Ginger, and continues to fight and speak out against breed-specific legislation like the Dangerous Dogs Act in the UK.

And the captain is not alone. Along with many other Britons, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has sought to end the ban on pit bulls in the UK.

“It is not effective at protecting public safety and seriously impacts the welfare of hundreds of innocent dogs every year,” Samantha Gaines, of the RSPCA, told Today. “It’s so sad that a rescue dog is missing out on a wonderful, loving new home due to an outdated piece of legislation. Her story shows just how unfair and unjust this law is.”

Ginger has been moved into a new foster home now that Stewart and Ozell have returned to England. Her former guardians, while sad they couldn’t spend more time with her, are happy she will no doubt find a loving forever home, as requests to adopt her flood the mailboxes of Wags and Walks, the organization that first connected the Stewarts with Ginger.

“They were wonderful fosters, and got her ready for her deserving forever home,” Wags and Walks founder Lesley Brog told Today.

Breed-specific legislation can split families apart, and when one of those family members relies on the other for mental and physical support, the results can be nothing short of life-threatening. Thousands of service members live on military bases across the world and deal with this tough situation every day. Not all of their family is welcome on base with them, namely their dogs.

Click the button below to tell the Residential Communities Initiative consortium (RCI) to change its BSL policies and make a difference.

Proper ARS animalrescuesite_belowcontent
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee. Find more about Matthew on his personal website.